African Punu art and its African ancestor masks.
This African mask accompanying the ikwara dance was used, according to Alisa LaGamma, during difficult palavers. A vigilante mask dancing on small stilts, it features braided shells and a wickerwork neck. Abrasions. Black patina.
The white masks of Gabon, itengi, (pl. bitengi) were associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti, Bwete, and the Mwiri i> ("to lead"), the latter being spread over several levels of initiation, to which all the Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman. The Punu did not involve any mask in Bwiti rituals, unlike the Tsogo.
These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, had several dances, including the leopard dance, the Esomba, the Mukuyi, and the dance of the Okuyi, on high stilts, remaining the most widespread.
Source (L. Perrois)
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